by Brad “Otis” Willis

When you turn over an hourglass, the top-level sand looks as if it may never move. Time is passing. You can see it falling into the bottom glass. At the top, the part we watch in real life, everything moves slow enough that you’re sure it will never end.

That’s the way the 2006 World Series has been so far. With more than 8,700 players starting in the record-breaking event, it was impossible to look at anything but the big picture. It seemed this event would never end.

But that’s the thing about the hourglass-nature of the WSOP. As the top-level sand sinks closer to the middle of the glass, every grain seems to be moving faster. Players are falling into the pit of elimination at such a rate that the tournament directors had to call a halt to play after less than five full hours of play.

When it ended today, 27 players remained. Among them sat five people who won their WSOP seats on PokerStars.

Here are our players going into Tuesday.

Erik Friberg

Erik “lirarerik” Friberg is the picture of calm at the table and the same applies off. He said he is 23-years-old, from Stockholm and that he plays online as “lirarerik”, where he won a $160 double shootout to book his spot in Vegas. Typically, the cards were otherwise kept close to his chest; he’s giving nothing away. Friberg cracked pocket aces today with 4-5 out of the big blind to rocket toward the top of the leaderboard for the seoncd day in a row. Chips: 7,735,000 (2nd)

Dan Nassif

With 5,430,000 in chips, Dan Nassif is well within shot of the $12,000,000 top prize. He is here on his own, having banned anyone from coming to support him until he makes the final table. He said: “I’ve been calling my parents and friends in the breaks but I don’t want anyone coming here yet. That was my idea at the beginning and I’m sticking to that.” Chips: 5,430,000 (5th)

Doug Kim

The Duke University homegame regular and good buddy to online wunderkind Jason Strasser, Doug “technologic” Kim, had an up-and-down day today that ended on the good end. He finished with nearly 3.6 million in chips, enough to put him in the top half of the remaining field. Chips: 3,595,000 (11th)

Eric “Rizen” Lynch

After having his aces cracked today, the poker phenom looked like he might be down for the count. Instead, he doubled up with 20 minutes left and got back in the fight. He is currently in the middle of the field. If anyone doubles him up tomorrow, they best be careful or he could very well be final table bound. Chips: 1,785,000 (17th)

Mark Garner

“Thrilled.” That’s the first word that escaped Mark “MGCAPRI” Garner’s mouth after he bagged his chips at the end of the day. The 43-year-old bond broker is here after winning a 160 double shootout on PokerStars. While he only has 635,000 in chips, he’s guaranteed almost half a million bucks in prize money. Retire early? “Not yet,” he says. He’ll be looking to double up early on Tuesday. Chips: 635,000 (26th)

Play resumes at noon on Tuesday. Tournament directors are planning to play from 27 down to nine players. If that happens, it’s going to be a very long day (which will completely kill my hourglass analogy). Of course, Team Blog will be on hand for the entire day, night, and morning.


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